Seeing this really got me going. It’s good to know that the performance and sonics are well done (thanks lonson). I haven’t heard the music, but I know that Billy Joel grew up studying classical piano, so it’s not hard to believe that he is capable of writing some good music in a classical idiom.
BUT – those of us who grew up studying classical music often played from the Schirmer editions which have (ever since the company was founded, I think) always come in yellow covers with the same typeface and ornamental borders. In the 1970s when I got some, they looked a little old-fashioned. The editors often took more liberties with the composer’s text than would probably be done today. But they were cheaper than the European imports and there was no mistaking them as you browsed at the music store through the various editions of whatever you were interested in learning. (Yes, children, larger cities once upon a time had such stores . . . )
So when I saw this CD cover, I first thought that someone was playing a joke by putting out a CD with the traditional Schirmer design, with Billly Joel’s name in the frame where one more often sees Bach or Beethoven; the title of the work also suggested to me the idea that this was not to be taken seriously. Some checking online, however, shows that the music has in fact been published by Schirmer/Leonard, in the traditional cover.
Maybe the publisher automatically put Joel’s compositions in their traditional garb for classical compositions, since the pieces are in that style. But did they not realize how doing so might convey an impression opposite to what was intended? Or were they trying to tell us that these pieces do really belong in the classical tradition? This is a fascinating case of the medium is the message (or not . . . ).